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Power of two: Setting stage for a dual act

The story of Cassandra’s curse is a popular Greek tragedy. Cursed by Atlas, Cassandra had the gift of sight but no one would believe any of the predictions made by her.

Published: 03rd June 2019 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2019 06:39 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU :  The story of Cassandra’s curse is a popular Greek tragedy. Cursed by Atlas, Cassandra had the gift of sight but no one would believe any of the predictions made by her. Aeons later, the same tale has turned out to be the inspiration behind theatre artist Sheila Govindaraj’s upcoming production ‘Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair’. The hour-long play is a blend of two performing arts – theatre and Bharatanatyam dance – that tells a story of Rosa and Vydehi, two women who have been shaped by the circumstances around them and possess opposite personalities.

Ramaa Venugopalan (L), Sheila Govindaraj |
Pic: Pushkar V

It also revolves around the firing carried out in Thoothukudi by cops, in 2018, to depict the treatment of women in society and the perils of patriarchy.Bouffon, art of mockery, is an interesting technique used in the play. The characters would mock the habits of men they have come across, said Govindaraj, who quit her corporate job to pursue theatre. She believes that the show can be watched by people of all age groups as it is a mere reflection of the society.

“The title denotes the idea of two sides to everything. We’ve tried to communicate tragedy and politics through the different lives of the characters,” she added. The play was devised by Govindaraj, along with Spatica Ramanujam, who is a full-time theatre artiste and Ramaa Venugopalan, a professional Bharatnatyam dancer. Govindaraj and Ramanujam founded the Mukhamugham Theatre group five years ago.

“This is a minimalistic play with just two characters,” said Venugopalan who plays Vydehi, a tame Brahmin girl. “It is difficult to seamlessly bring two deep art forms on a single platform. We have put together many creative units and let the story reveal itself,” she added.

Rosa, played by Spatica, is a spontaneous character. The artiste believes that the pragmatism attached to her character is challenging. “This is the first time I have taken a role like this. Rosa, being a carefree soul, ends up taking responsibility towards the end. This shift in her character took time and effort to adopt,” she said, adding that while she usually performs devised plays, this is the first time she will play a spontaneous character.

The trio seeks to experiment with different theatre spaces to showcase their play. “Bengaluru is a good space to try out different forms of theatre. People are open to new things,” said Govindaraj.The play will be staged at Seva Sadan, Malleswaram on June 6. Two more shows will follow on June 8 and June 15, at Vyoma Arts Space, JP Nagar, and Swastika School of Dance and Music, Jakkur Layout, respectively. 

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